Down 922 this week

October Sky (1999)

PG  |   |  Biography, Drama, Family  |  19 February 1999 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 60,876 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 333 user | 106 critic | 23 from Metacritic.com

The true story of Homer Hickam, a coal miner's son who was inspired by the first Sputnik launch to take up rocketry against his father's wishes.



(book), (screenplay)
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

3 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An Iowa corn farmer, hearing voices, interprets them as a command to build a baseball diamond in his fields; he does, and the Chicago White Sox come.

Director: Phil Alden Robinson
Stars: Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta
The Sandlot (1993)
Comedy | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A new kid in town is taken under the wing of a young baseball prodigy and his team. Together, they get themselves into many adventures involving rival teams, lifeguards, and a vicious dog.

Director: David M. Evans
Stars: Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar, Patrick Renna
Animation | Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A grumpy hermit hatches a plan to steal Christmas from the Whos of Whoville.

Directors: Chuck Jones, Ben Washam
Stars: Boris Karloff, Thurl Ravenscroft, June Foray
The Rookie (2002)
Drama | Family | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A Texas baseball coach makes the major league after agreeing to try out if his high school team made the playoffs.

Director: John Lee Hancock
Stars: Dennis Quaid, J.D. Evermore, Rachel Griffiths
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Ralphie has to convince his parents, his teacher, and Santa that a Red Ryder B.B. gun really is the perfect gift for the 1940s.

Director: Bob Clark
Stars: Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin
Jumanji (1995)
Adventure | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

When two kids find and play a magical board game, they release a man trapped for decades in it and a host of dangers that can only be stopped by finishing the game.

Director: Joe Johnston
Stars: Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, Bonnie Hunt
Comedy | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

When a boy prays for a chance to have a family if the California Angels win the pennant, angels are assigned to make that possible.

Director: William Dear
Stars: Danny Glover, Brenda Fricker, Tony Danza
Animation | Adventure | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A young boy embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on the Polar Express. During his adventure he learns about friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas.

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Tom Hanks, Chris Coppola, Michael Jeter
A Charlie Brown Christmas (TV Special 1965)
Animation | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Repelled by the commercialism he sees around him, Charlie Brown tries to find the true meaning of Christmas.

Director: Bill Melendez
Stars: Ann Altieri, Chris Doran, Sally Dryer
Comedy | Family | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A 10-year-old and an 11-year-old find love in New York City.

Director: Mark Levin
Stars: Josh Hutcherson, Charlie Ray, Bradley Whitford
Bee Movie (2007)
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Barry B. Benson, a bee just graduated from college, is disillusioned at his lone career choice: making honey. On a special trip outside the hive, Barry's life is saved by Vanessa, a florist in New York City. As their relationship blossoms, he discovers humans actually eat honey, and subsequently decides to sue them.

Directors: Steve Hickner, Simon J. Smith
Stars: Jerry Seinfeld, Renée Zellweger, Matthew Broderick
Hugo (2011)
Adventure | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Set in 1930s Paris, an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Lee


Cast overview, first billed only:
Natalie Canerday ...
Scott Thomas ...
Jim Hickam (as Scott Miles)
Randy Stripling ...
Dorothy Platt (as Courtney Fendley)


In a 1950's mining town called Coalwood, Homer Hickam is a kid with only one future in sight, to work in the local coal mine like his father. However in October 1957, everything changes when the first artificial satellite, Sputnik goes into orbit. With that event, Homer becomes inspired to learn how to build rockets. With his friends and the local nerd, Homer sets to do just that by trial and a lot of error. Unfortunately, most of the town and especially Homer's father thinks that they are wasting their time. Only one teacher in the high school understands their efforts and lets them know that they could become contenders in the national science fair with college scholarships being the prize. Now the gang must learn to perfect their craft and overcome the many problems facing them as they shoot for the stars. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

rocket | coal | sputnik | mining | mine | See All (141) »


Sometimes one dream is enough to light up the whole sky. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language, brief teen sensuality and alcohol use, and for some thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

19 February 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rocket Boys  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,905,250 (USA) (19 February 1999)


$32,481,825 (USA) (23 July 1999)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The engineer driving the steam locomotive in the rail-harvesting scene was played by renowned railroad photographer O. Winston Link. See more »


When Homer's dad introduces the football recruiter, he refers to him as from the University of West Virginia. That is incorrect, the school is West Virginia University. See more »


Homer: Listen, I'm sorry about what's going on around here, but it isn't my fault! What do you want from me anyway?
John: You better watch yourself, Homer.
Homer: If I go on to win at Indianapolis, I can go to college, maybe even get a job at Cape Canaveral. There's nothing here for me. The town is dying! The mine is dying! Everybody here knows that but you!
John: You want to get out so bad, then go. Go!
Homer: Yeah, I'll go! Yeah, I'll go!
John: GO! GO!
Homer: And I'll be gone forever! I won't even look back!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The real life people portrayed in the movie are shown during the end credits. See more »


Featured in Spotlight on Location: October Sky (1999) See more »


Let the Good Times Roll
Written by Leonard Lee, Shirley Goodman
Performed by Shirley Goodman (as Shirley) and Leonard Lee (as Lee)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The first great film of 1999. *** out of ****.
24 February 1999 | by (Mason, Mi) – See all my reviews

There is an old saying that relates to the rousing new film by Joe Johnston that goes something like this: "The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can't are both right." That is a highly presumptuous statement referring to self motivating and belief in an individual, which, in this movie, stand true even after road blocks and family trouble stand in the way.

"October Sky" is about a young man who believes in himself named Homer Hickam, growing up in a strict, traditional family in the 1950's. Homer loves in a small coal mining town where nearly every man grows up to be a miner. All of his friends, Quentin, Roy, and O'Dell all think that their life after high school will be like everyone else's. Homer is not exited about that future.

One night, while everyone stares at the sky, a Russian space craft called Sputnik passes overhead. This is something new for Homer, and he finds it spectacular and overwhelming. From this point on, his look at life will never be the same.

First, he tells everyone that he wants to work in the rocket scientist area for an occupation. Flabbergasted at what he says, his family passes that idea over their heads and continues with life as usual His friends, however, think that this idea may have some potential. After all, Quentin is a very smart individual when it comes to this kind of thing.

When the four friends start to test model rockets, and blow a white picket fence to smithereens, then what seems to be a forest fire is scared by them, they're forced to end their progresses.

The performances in this movie are absolutely riveting from start to finish. All of the actors give performances as if this is the real mumbo jumbo here. Standing out in all of the glory: Laura Dern as Miss Riley. This very well may be Academy award material if the judges can remember back to the beginning of the year when this film is released.

The characters are also extremely well developed. Not only to the filmmakers give clear, apparent reason why Homer is interested in the subject, but they also explain to the audience how they are succeeding in their studding of rocketry. We clearly understand all of the characters' motives and beliefs, especially the father, who is bent over on everlasting tradition.

The film, unfortunately, loses some of its momentum at mid-point because of a silly, recycled romantic sub-plot involving Homer's love interest and how his brother stole her from him. This type of this is becoming so awfully common in high-school movies, not that this film is aimed at high-schoolers. The actors stare at each other mindlessly, like the are in a trance. I put up with it without complaining in 1997's "Inventing the Abbots," but I have had just about enough this.

But that is just a minor complaint. With an authentic looking time period, cinematography worth an Oscar and clips of the real life Homer and friends at the end, whom all hit it big with their dreams, especially Homer, this is the first great film of 1999.

35 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Did You Think Laura Dern Overacted? glasshull
5 movies avalanche1994
who else cried at this movie? mattiemurphy76
Why is this movie not in IMDB TOP 250 ?? askrahul
A time when U.S. kids could learn chemistry and rocketry on their own schear
does anyone think nasa might not be as squeeky clean as mayanlongcount
Discuss October Sky (1999) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page